Following inhalation, manganese travels along the olfactory nerve from the olfactory epithelium (OE) to the olfactory bulb (OB). Occupational exposure to inhaled manganese is associated with changes in olfactory function. This pilot study evaluated two related hypotheses: (a) intranasal manganese administration increases OE and OB manganese concentrations; and (b) intranasal manganese exposure impairs performance of previously trained rats on a go-no-go olfactory discrimination (OD) task. Male Fischer 344 rats were trained to either lever press (“go”) in response to a positive conditioned stimulus (CS+: vanillin) or to do nothing (“no go”) when a negative conditioned stimulus (CS−: amyl acetate) was present. Following odor training, rats were randomly assigned to either a manganese (200 mM MnCl2) or 0.9% saline treatment group (n = 4–5 rats/group). Administration of either saline or manganese was performed on isoflurane-anesthetized rats as 40 μL bilateral intranasal instillations. Rats were retested 48 h later using the vanillin/amyl acetate OD task, then euthanized, followed by collection of the OE and OB. Manganese concentrations in tissue samples were analyzed by ICP-MS. An additional cohort of rats (n = 3–4/group) was instilled similarly with saline or manganese and nasal and OB pathology assessed 48 h later. Manganese-exposed rats had increased manganese levels in both the OE and OB and decreased performance in the OD task when compared with control animals. Histopathological evaluation of the caudal nasal cavity showed moderate, acute to subacute suppurative inflammation of the olfactory epithelium and submucosa of the ethmoid turbinates and mild suppurative exudate in the nasal sinuses in animals given manganese. No histologic changes were evident in the OB. The nasal instillation and OD procedures developed in this study are useful methods to assess manganese – induced olfactory deficits.